If your medical facility is currently in a waste management contract, it is vitally important that you know exactly when your contract renewal date is. If you lose track of it and accidently allow this contract to automatically renew, it very well could end up costing your medical facility a great deal of time, money, and frustration. These waste management contracts determine who you will be dealing with for all your medical waste removal, and if you're displeased with that company, it could have real implications on your day-to-day work.

Waste Management Contracts: How Forgetting Your Renewal Date Can Hurt Your Medical Facility

Medical Waste Disposal Cost: Your Contract and the Bottom Line

It's very common for a medical facility to not be aware of its contract renewal date. Some aren't even aware they are in a contract. However, automatic contract renewal can be very costly.

Take the following example. In this scenario, a medical facility needs two to three medical waste boxes full of red bag waste to be picked up every month. (Note, the specific numbers are for illustrative purposes only, so make sure to check your contract and alternative medical waste management companies for prices specific to you.)

One Month of Medical Waste Services

  • Medical waste disposal company offering a service agreement: $100
  • Medical waste disposal company offering a contract: $200–$1,000

One Year of Medical Waste Pickup

  • Waste management service agreement: $1,200
  • Waste management contract: $2,400–$12,000

Five Years of Medical Waste Pick Up

  • Service agreement: $6,000
  • Contract: $12,000–$60,000

This is for the exact same disposal of medical waste. With a contract, though, you're paying one coverall charge a month, which includes many services you're likely not using from month to month. This includes things such as OSHA compliance training. For some medical facilities, a contract is a financially responsible choice, but for many, it just means month after month of overpaying.

Legally Binding Contract

If you miss your cancelation window and your contract automatically renews, you and your medical facility are legally obligated to comply with whatever that contract says. In many cases, the only way out is with a hefty buy-out clause, which can be upwards of 50 percent of the remaining fee on your contract.

Just because you didn't know when your renewal date was—or you didn't even know you were in a contract—is never an excuse. It's still a legally binding document.

Pitfalls of Medical Waste Disposal Industry Contracts

When dealing with medical waste disposal companies that offer contracts, you could run into the following problems:

  • They can up prices, even when you're locked into a contract. You will not be able to leave your contract on these grounds.
  • Contracts tend to come from larger companies, meaning your level and quality of customer service could suffer.
  • New rules and regulations are consistently cropping up, especially around hazardous medical waste. It can be frustrating (not to mention time consuming) to try to get in contact with a large company and discuss how these changes affect your facility specifically.

Personal Responsibility as an Office Manager

If you're in charge of handling any dealings with your medical waste disposal company, getting accidentally locked into a lengthy, expensive contract can ultimately fall back on you. If your boss wants out of that contract, you'll have to say it's not possible (without a big financial penalty), putting you in an unfavorable, uncomfortable position.

Contracts versus Waste Management Service Agreements

If you are on the ball with your renewal date and are able to get out of your contract, consider a service agreement in its place. A service agreement offers a lot more flexibility with your disposal of medical waste. If you only need to ship one medical waste box that month, you only pay for one medical waste box.

For more information about the potential consequences of letting medical waste management contracts automatically renew, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.